The hearing by the state Supreme Court is not a resolution of the C-8 lawsuit itself. It's brought on by a pair of issues raised by attorneys for DuPont Washington works. While several area residents, and even some former company employees have claimed illness and other health effects by the chemical, DuPont has claimed C-8 is safe.
"There's been information out there taking data from laboratory animals and implying they're seeing the same effects as humans, and that's simply not factual," says Dr. Robert Rickard.
But earlier this year, Wood County circuit judge George Hill ruled DuPont should pay for blood tests of the plaintiffs, to determine whether in fact they suffered any ill effects from the chemical.
"The testing of course will be voluntary in that it will only apply to people who want to have their blood tested...it will be involuntary in a sense that DuPont will be ordered to pay for the testing for the people who want the test," says Harry Deitzler.
There are issues on both sides of this suit. In the case of the plaintiffs, their health and well-being. In the case of DuPont, the future use of a chemical, which is a major component of a heavily manufactured product at Washington Works. The company's lawyers also want Judge Hill recused from the case, saying he is from the area from where residents claim the water is polluted.
The high court may be asked to revisit a four-year-old case Hill used in his ruling, in which it determined West Virginia companies could be forced to pay for toxic exposure testing. Lawyers for Parkersburg-area residents say the appeal is simply an effort to indefinitely delay trial in the underlying case.
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